Tips + Techniques

Make Lasting Boudoir Client Connections

May 8, 2024

By Stephanie Bordas

A portrait is really about the relationship between the subject and the photographer. The lighting, wardrobe, and location can all be perfect, but if your client is uncomfortable in any way, it will show up in your photo, and that portrait will not be a successful one. I always favor connection over photographic perfection, and I believe that is the secret to making lasting boudoir client connections.

There are so many opportunities before, during and after the shoot to ensure lasting connections with your clients, and most of them are really easy!  Here are just a few simple and highly effective “tricks” I use.

© Stephanie Bordas

Tips for Connections that Last 

Consistent Online Presence

Before your client even books you, it’s important to be true to yourself across all your platforms — website, social media, and so on. Clients are savvy and do their research — no one will connect to a website that was clearly written by AI or one that reads as generic. Be sure to use your own voice, express who you are and share what you value in addition to showing your best work. This way, you’ll set yourself up for success as your ideal clients will be drawn to you and your business.  


Once booked but before the shoot, I communicate with my clients a lot. I do it mostly over email in the form of a client questionnaire. (I call it their homework assignment, which makes everyone laugh.) And we have an optional Zoom call a few weeks before their shoot. Whatever your preferred methods are, remember that you can never give clients too much information. Some people need more hand holding than others, but even if they don’t read it or feel they need it, they will appreciate you wanting to care for them and their experience.   

I ask a lot of questions of my clients to get to know them and I actually listen to their answers! This sounds obvious, but people can always tell instinctually if you are actually listening to them or just waiting for your turn to talk. I take notes and always bring back up at a later time some of the details we discussed. For example, if someone asks if you can retouch out tan lines because they have a vacation planned, ask them how their vacation was the next time you speak. You are not AI, and your clients should know that a real person who is invested in them as much as they are invested in you is on the other side of the computer.   

© Stephanie Bordas

Personal Touch

On the shoot day, be sure your client knows you are expecting them — not just “some client.”  Say their name upon welcoming them, and be sure to repeat it to anyone else who is there, like the hair and makeup artist. Use open, welcoming arms versus arms crossed over the chest as a one-second signifier that your client is welcomed and celebrated in your space. Clients will subconsciously pick up on this body language. Review your notes from previous conversations and bring those touch points up again, i.e., ask how the wedding planning or the new job is going, or ask how they are celebrating their birthday. Maybe you’ve asked them their favorite drink and have it ready for them when they arrive on set. Personal touches like that go a long way.  

Take the Pressure Off

Be sure to buffer your time on shoot days so that there is no stress or panic if something goes wrong (on either your end or the client’s end!) Some clients are slower to warm up, and that’s ok. With a little bit of time buffer, you can give them the opportunity to warm up without either one of you feeling pressured. No one likes to feel rushed or like a nuisance.   

Let’s face it — most clients are nervous to have their photo taken, so anything you can do to put their body and mind at ease will help you, even if they have done something “wrong.” For example, if your client is late, you have the option of either making them feel bad about being late and giving the impression that you’ll have to sacrifice some good shots because of it, or you can be kind and let them know you will get plenty of good shots with the time you do have. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t hold to your boundaries. Our time is precious for sure. But this simple change of perspective — from what they are doing to you to how you can help them makes all the difference. Because let’s face it –sometimes stuff happens and no one wants to feel at fault for that.  

Once you are actually shooting, continue using their name and be sure your client feels that everything they are doing is great — even if it isn’t. If they want to try something out of the box that you know will not work, don’t poo-poo it or make them feel silly for making the suggestion. Capture their idea and then gracefully move on. If one pose isn’t working, there’s no need to tell them so. Take a few shots, recognize that it isn’t working and keep that info to yourself as you switch it up.  

© Stephanie Bordas


Try to match your client’s energy level and body language. This one takes some practice. For example, for someone more extroverted and excitable, loudly cheering them on during the shoot will likely get them energized. Alternatively, for a more reserved client, that same loud energy might make them uncomfortable. Instead, opt for a slower pace, sustained eye contact, deep breaths and small smiles to help a more introverted client connect with you and with the camera.  

Encouragement After the Shoot

After the shoot, verbalize how amazing they did, and how beautifully everything turned out, and repeat that sentiment every time you speak with them — immediately after the shoot, the next day, at the reveal, at product pickup, and when their friend comes in for their shoot (which they will, if you’ve given your client an amazing experience). Your clients should never feel anything but proud and successful after their shoot with you. And if they didn’t have a great shoot?  No matter. There are compliments you can give without fibbing or being inauthentic. Comments like “I can’t wait to dig into this edit,” or “I had so much fun photographing you,” or “You really stepped out of your comfort zone,”  all put someone’s mind at ease, which is what a client really needs at the end of their shoot.   

© Stephanie Bordas


And finally, say thank you!  People love to be thanked. In fact, there’s a psychological study that when someone feels they’ve helped YOU out, they subsequently feel more positively connected to you.  

To keep the relationship going, I always like to reach out to my clients a year or so after their shoot. I set these “saying hi” emails to go out automatically, and keep it short and simple. I’ll say, “I can’t believe our shoot was already a year ago. It’s still one of my favorites” or “The baby must be so big by now. I’d love to see a picture.” A short note to let them know that you remember them, that you care about what’s going on for them, and that you consider yourself their photographer, will keep you at the front of their mind and keep them coming back to you again and again.   

Clients for Life

The goal isn’t to become best friends with every person who steps in front of your lens. But when you simply treat others how you would like to be treated — not as a cog in your photography factory — your clients will feel a connection to you and will most likely become your client for life. 

[Read: The Boudoir Photography Empowerment Movement]

Stephanie Bordas is a photographer who believes in the power of boudoir to help women feel confident and free. Her Brooklyn Boudoir studio focuses on modern, sexy, and fun portraiture. Learn more from her in her recent appearance on The Portrait System Podcast.